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Fiji Time: 4:48 AM on Wednesday 30 July

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Constitution must pave the way forward

Nanise Loanakadavu
Saturday, December 22, 2012

THE new constitution must pave the way for a much more inclusive, modern, non-bureaucratic, stable and prosperous nation.

President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau shared these sentiments while receiving the draft supreme law from the Constitution Commission at Government House yesterday.

"Fiji has had a chequered constitutional history," he said.

"We have had three constitutions since independence."

Ratu Epeli said the decree which established the commission would lead to the formulation of Fiji's fourth constitution.

He said under the Constitution Commission Decree 57/2012, certain universally accepted principles should be enshrined in the new constitution.

"These principles must not only be set out clearly but must also be captured in spirit throughout all the provisions of the new constitution.

"It is also imperative given our history that the new constitution is enduring. It must not be only for the present, it must be relevant for our future generations," he said.

Following the acceptance of the draft constitution, Ratu Epeli said he would deliver the document to the Constituent Assembly which would comprise of representatives from a wide cross-section of society who would then adopt the final form of the constitution.

The assembly will then present the adopted constitution to the President who will then refer it to an independent judicial tribunal for vetting to ensure compliance before the President assents to it.

"I wish to take this opportunity to thank all my fellow Fijians who took time and energy to make submissions to the commission," he said.

"We, as a nation, are at an important juncture and it is critical that we all participate in this process with dignity, selflessness and patriotism to ensure that we have a truly democratic and just Fiji," said Ratu Epeli.


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